You probably haven’t missed Prime Minister Olmert’s comments yesterday that Diaspora Jewry, particularly organizations like the OU have no right to weigh in on Israel’s diplomatic and security decisions – even on the future of Jerusalem.
The PM asked rhetorically “Does any Jewish organization have a right to confer upon Israel what it negotiates or not?” before answering that “The government of Israel has a sovereign right to negotiate anything on behalf of Israel.”
We think the Prime Minister is wrong on many counts. You can see our official response here. But we were surprised to learn that Mr. Olmert himself thinks differently.
Pasted below is a transcript of the Prime Minister (then the Mayor of Jerusalem) speaking to an August 2002 solidarity mission visiting Jerusalem. It comes from a moving documentary produced by JAFAH, and we will try and get a video link up as soon as possible, but until then, in Mr. Olmert’s own words:
“Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] is not just a city. Yerushalayim is not just the united eternal capital of Israel. It is, obviously it is, but it is a lot more. Yerushalayim is our city. It is not the city of anyone else, it never was and it never will be (applause) – never. Whenever Jews from outside of Israel speak out their mind, there are those who say, it’s not your business – you don’t live in Israel, you don’t have to go through the pains and terrible experiences that we have to go through, so why do you think that you have a right to intervene in this debate? And I don’t want to talk in general terms. I can only say this: No one has the right to say to any Jew, no matter where he lives, that he has no right to speak up his mind about the future of Yerushalayim. Because Yerushalayim is not only the city of those who live in Yerushalayim, it’s not only the city of those who live in the state of Israel – it is the city of every Jewish person no matter where he lives, and every Jewish person not only that he has a right, but in my mind he has an obligation to speak up his mind about the future of his city because the future of Jerusalem will ultimately determine the future of the Jewish people no matter where they live.”
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.